International Organizations

International Organizations
   Brussels has hosted many international conferences and serves as the headquarters of numerous international organizations, which are scattered throughout the city and surrounding communities.
   The first international peace conference was held in Brussels in 1848. The Brussels International Conference (27 August 1874) adopted a declaration concerning the laws of war, and the International Law Association was founded in October 1873. The first international congress of anarchists was held in Brussels in 1877. The Second International was headquartered here, where the second general meeting was held in 1891. Brussels was chosen as headquarters of the International Academic Union (1919) and Belgian diplomat Paul Hymans fought tenaciously, although unsuccessfully, at the Versailles Peace Conference (1919) to secure the city's selection as the site of the League of Nations. A conference sponsored by the League was held from 24 September to 8 October 1920, at which 34 nations issued recommendations for European governments to borrow on the basis of guarantees provided by certain assets. The Union of International Associations (UIA) was founded on 1 June 1910 by Henri La Fontaine and Paul Otlet as the Office central des Associations internationales (Central Office of International Associations). It became a federation under the present name at the first world congress of international organizations held in Brussels in 1910. The union provides information on international organizations and publishes the Yearbook of International Organizations. The UIA lobbied for a Belgian law, adopted 25 October 1919, that granted special legal facilities for international, nongovernmental organizations. Belgium remains the only nation with such a law.
   The International Social Security Association was founded here in 1927. Pacifists met at congresses in 1931 and 1934.
   The Inter-Allied Reparations Agency established in 1945 to divide reparations from defeated Germany among 18 victorious Allies was based in Brussels. The Benelux Economic Union (1948) is headquartered here. An international congress of 115 nations met in Brussels in 1996 to consider drafting a treaty to ban landmines.
   In addition to its status as headquarters of major institutions of the European Union and of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, Brussels is host to the NATO Parliamentary Assembly (formerly the North Atlantic Assembly), the International Confederation of Free Trade Unions, and the International Committee for Security and Cooperation. A United Nations Information Center and a United Nations liaison office with the European Union were established in 1976. The UN information centers that service all of Western Europe were centralized in Brussels in 2003. Brussels remains one of the world's major host cities for international congresses, conferences, agencies, and organizations.

Historical Dictionary of Brussels. .

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